I’m in the home stretch of finishing up the work for the show “(un)veiled” at Block Gallery. The finishing touch are the finial birds that will top my fence posts. As is my habit I’ve saved the doing of these birds to last simply because I hadn’t figured out how to make them. I had done a prototype of one that came out a bit too skinny for what I wanted then left the project to mull on while I finished up the houses. They were a messy project and it was inconvenient to stop, wash my hands, get the camera and photograph. It’ll be a good demonstration for a video. I’m very happy with how these came out, fatter and taller than the first one and I’ll need to make a few smaller beads of totem/fence posts so there’s enough pipe left to go into the birds.
I cut out a bird shape in a piece of foam core, put it on top of a box, placed a slab of clay over it and used a rib to stretch the clay into half a bird. Flipped the template over and repeated the process to make the other half. When they had set up a bit I scored and slipped a fat coil with tapered ends to the belly of each bird half. I filled the box with plastic making a nest that so that the bird shape wouldn’t flatten. Scored and slipped the coils then tried to join the two slippery halves together creating really messy hands. With the air trapped inside I paddled and thumbed the coils out of sight and as I worked on decorating a house I would flip the birds in their plastic nests letting first the belly harden up then the spine.
The next day I added the beaks and ribbed them to smoothness for glazing. Put a pin hole in to let the air out and placed them under plastic to dry. Today I’ll put the appropriate size hole in the bottom so that it will sit tightly on the pipe.